Canada out of the Woods

Inline: Finland, Sweden, USA also open with wins

02.06.2013
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Canada’s Fred Corbeil and Slovakia’s Juraj Prokop battle for the puck.

DRESDEN – Thomas Woods almost single-handedly shut down Slovakia with his four goals as the defending champion won 6-1. Sweden shocked host Germany with a 7-1 win while Team USA opened the 2013 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship with a 13-3 win over Slovenia. Finland needed overtime to edge the Czech Republic, 5-4.

Top Division

Slovakia vs. Canada 1-6 (0-1, 0-3, 1-0, 0-2) Video

Defending champion Canada opened the 2013 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship with a 6-1 victory against newly promoted Slovakia. Thomas Woods scored the first four goals of the game including some highlight-worthy ones.

“It was a good game for me,” he said. “I think I got a little lucky on some of those. I was getting good passes from the guys.”

“It’s a good start for the guys. We just wanted to get a win no matter what we did, by one goal or by a couple.”

Woods had the first big chance to score after less than two minutes of play and he made use of it. He shifted the puck to the right side of Slovak goalkeeper Vladimir Neumann to beat him for the opening marker.

In the second period the Vancouver native even scored a hat trick within a span of less than ten minutes.

Slovakia’s Miroslav Preisinger and Juraj Jurik missed on an odd-man rush and Woods scored on the counter-attack at 1:14.

Four minutes later he deked Slovak player Patrik Szabo and then shifted the puck left around Neumann for his hat trick. And with 1:15 left in the period he made it 4-0.

Slovakia changed goalkeepers after the intermission but created too little offence for a serious comeback attempt. With 75 seconds left in the third period Milan Siller brought back hope with his team’s consolation goal but in the last period Chris Terry and Fred Corbeil scored two more Canadian goals for the final score of 6-1.

Sweden vs. Germany 7-1 (0-0, 4-0, 1-0, 2-1) Video

Andreas Svensson, one of the coaches, performed the Swedish national anthem before the game and it seemed to inspire his players. After a scoreless first period the Swedes were off to a great start in the second frame they won 4-0.

In the end the Swedish players celebrated a 7-1 victory as the seventh-seeded team against last year’s silver medallist. Henrik Höglund scored a hat trick while Daniel Brolin had two markers.

“We played very well the whole game and kept the puck in the game all the time,” said Swedish forward Dick Axelsson, who won the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship on the day two weeks ago. “It’s very good to win the first game.”

Höglund opened the scoring at 1:10 of the second period after breaking through on the right side.

At 5:05 German forward Veit Holzmann was held back by Alexander Olsson on a breakaway. He hoped for a penalty shot but the Germans got a power play at least. Again the team missed out on their scoring chances. Instead Johan Erkgärds escaped for an odd-man rush and netted the puck himself for the 2-0 lead.

With the second goal the Swedes gained momentum and the floodgates opened. Just 93 seconds later, Höglund scored after a centering pass from Marcus Nilsson for the three-goal lead and Axelsson skated through the German defence for the fourth goal before the halftime mark.

German coach Georg Holzmann, who replaced goalkeeper Maximilian Engelbrecht with Dennis Berger, must have found the right words during the break. The third period remained scoreless for a long time but the Germans still lacked the offensive quality to score a goal. Instead Daniel Brolin scored two more Swedish markers and Höglund completed his hat trick for the clear verdict: 7-0.

With 66 second left in the game the Germans at least earned the consolation goal from Patrick Buzas.

Finland vs. Czech Republic 5-4 (0-0, 0-3, 3-0, 1-1, 1-0) OT Video

Finland came back from a 3-0 deficit and tied the game at four with three seconds left in regulation time. With 33 seconds left in the extra period Jesse Saarinen scored the game-winning goal. Cami Miettinen led the Finns in scoring with two markers.

The Czechs couldn’t capitalize on their better start and Petr Kafka’s hat trick wasn’t rewarded with more than a mere point. In a plot reminding of his namesake Franz Kafka and his novel “The Metamorphosis”, things changed drastically in the second half of the game and Finland ended up celebrating a coming-from-behind win.

“We started the game poorly in the first two periods. Then we started to play the way we wanted and tied the game,” Saarinen said. “We pretty much controlled the last two period and overtime and I think we deserved to win.”

After a scoreless first period the Czechs dominated in the second frame in what could have been the foundation to a win.

After a long shot from Marek Loskot the puck bounced back from the end boards and Petr Kafka stood right in front of the net to open the scoring 33 seconds into the period.

With 4:38 left before the halftime break, Loskot doubled the gap on a breakaway. He deked the only defenceman standing in his way before beating Finnish goalie Juha Taponen for the 2-0 goal. With a shot from outside the face-off circle Kafka made it 3-0 game before the teams switched sides.

Finland reacted after the break. Cami Miettinen single-handedly outskated the Czech defence to score the 3-1 goal after nine seconds in the third period. And at 1:51 Lasse Lappalainen made it 3-2 after a centering pass from Tomi Penttinen. Two minutes later Tommi Huhtala tied it up at three after a horizontal pass from Tomi Sallinen and forced Czech coach Petr Hemsky to use his time-out.

From now on the Czechs managed to keep the Finns away and midway through the fourth period Kafka completed his hat trick. Michal Simo sent the puck back from the goal line during a power play to Pavel Strycek, who gave the puck to Kafka for the 4-3 goal.

The Finns tried everything in the dying minutes of regulation time and pulled the goalie for an extra attacker. With just three seconds left they succeeded and Miettinen scored his second goal of the day for the 4-4 tie.

After rather limited game action in overtime it seemed the teams would mentally get ready for a shoot-out – but not the Finns. With 33 seconds left they scored once again. Saarinen converted a centering pass from Kari Lohtander for the game-winning goal.

Slovenia vs. USA 3-13 (1-4, 0-2, 1-4, 1-3) Video

Team USA opened the 2013 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship with a 13-3 win over Slovenia. Travis Noe scored four goals and Matt White had a hat trick.

“The first game is always a little weird but we came out pretty good and I hope this win gets our confidence going,” Noe said.

The Americans didn’t have the best conditions with the late arrival of their equipment but despite the lack of preparation in Dresden they started with a firework of scoring chances.

“We missed a couple of bags. That was kind of hard but we skated last night and had a good camp in Colorado so we knew each other pretty quick,” Noe said. “We got good lines and good chemistry out there.”

Midway through the first period the Americans already held a virtually uncatchable lead with four unanswered goals.

After 80 seconds Robert Alexander skated in front of the opponent’s net between Slovenia’s Ales Remar and Nejc Berlisk to beat goalkeeper Matevz Grabnar for the first time.

At 3:19 White sent the puck through traffic and Pat Cannone diverted the puck into the net. Jose “Junior” Cadiz made it 3-0 and Noe 4-0 with a perfect shot into the top-right corner.

With 87 seconds left in the opening period the Slovenes gave a sign of life when Matic Kralj hammered in a slap shot via goalkeeper Jerry Kuhn III.

The first half of the second period remained scoreless until Noe netted his second goal with a shot in the far corner during a power play. 23 seconds later White beat Grabnar through his five-hole.

After the half-time break Ales Remar cut the American lead with a slapshot from a few metres distance but soon after the ensuing face-off the U.S. stroke back with two Noe goals and eventually they won the game by the score of 13-3.

Division I

Argentina vs. Hungary 2-3 (1-1, 0-1, 1-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1) GWS

Argentina had a strong comeback at the IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship after being relegated two years ago, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Hungary. The top-seeded team in this group won 3-2 in a shootout.

In a tightly fought contest, Hernan Insua Shanly opened the scoring for Argentina at 3:35 but less than four minutes later Hungary’s Marton Bontovics tied the game.

The Hungarians improved in the second period and Tamas Erdelyi earned his team the lead at 7:04 but the Argentines tied it up just 72 seconds after the halftime break with a goal from Nicolas Chiaravalloti.

The game ended 2-2 in regulation time and although Argentina had more chances in overtime it was the Hungarians, who capitalized in the shootout. Zoltan Revak scored the deciding goal in the game-winning shot competition.

Bulgaria vs. Great Britain 0-13 (0-3, 0-3, 0-4, 0-3)

Great Britain was demoted to the Division I where Bulgaria was the last-placed team last year but re-qualified in a tournament against FYR Macedonia, Latvia and Turkey.

The score reflected the wide gap between these two teams in the seeding. Great Britain didn’t give Bulgaria a chance and won the opening game 13-0.

The Bulgarians with half the team over 35 years of age were totally outperformed by the British. Once the teams got a break at the halftime mark, Great Britain had scored six goals from 22 shots while Alexander Birch in the British net hadn’t faced a single shot.

The game continued that way until the last second. Philip Hamer scored a hat trick, and Robert Shelton and Nathan Finney had a pair of goals each. The other markers came from Karl Niamatali, Richard Walsh, Daniel Hutchinson, Jack Clarkson, Alex Pearman, Kurt Waller.

Austria vs. Japan 5-1 (1-0, 3-0, 0-1, 1-0)

Austria started victorious thanks to a strong first half of the game against Japan. Christian Dolezal opened the scoring after four minutes and also netted a second goal coming from the penalty box for the 4-0 lead. Harry Lange and Johannes Bischofberger scored two power-play goals in between.

The Japanese didn’t manage to defeat Austrian goalkeeper Lorenz Hirn for a long time except for Gentaro Tsuchimoto’s consolation goal. It didn’t help as Austria ended the game with the 5-1 marker.

Croatia vs. Australia 6-9 (1-5, 1-0, 2-3, 2-1)

One year ago Croatia won the opening game against Australia 5-4 and ended up in fourth place, one better than the team from Down Under.

This year the Australians wanted to change their destiny from the very beginning. There was no sign of jetlag after a camp near Helsinki, Finland, and after 5:49 Australia had skated away with a 4-0 lead. Jonathon Bremner, Sean Jones, Michael Casaceli and Shaun Wickham scored the goals.

Croatia reacted when Niksa Trstenjak capitalized on the first power play of the game but Liam Jeffries’ goal restored the four-goal lead before the first intermission.

Croatia shortened the gap through the rest of the game thanks to a hat trick from Tomislav Grozaj and a pair of goals from Igor Jacmenjak but Australia managed to defend the lead also thanks to a Luke Fritchley hat trick.

Click here for the tournament website with stats, photos, videos and a live stream.

MARTIN MERK

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